Promoting Free Games With In-App Purchases

March 11, 2024
March 4, 2024

Because users don’t pay an upfront fee to play free games with in-app purchases, you must build a large, engaged audience to generate the number of microtransactions you need to turn a profit. Effective promotion is the key to attracting a large audience to your game.

Key Takeaways:

  • Free-to-play games rely on a large group of players to make many small purchases to generate revenue. An effective promotion strategy is the key to building the audience you need.
  • Before you can launch an effective marketing campaign, you must first understand your target market by analyzing potential players’ preferences and behavior.
  • Once you know who your customer is, you can use a variety of tools, such as app store optimization, content marketing, social media, influencers, game trailers, paid advertising, and cross-promotion, to increase your game’s audience.

How To Promote Free Games With In-App Purchases

It can cost anywhere from $3,000 to millions of dollars to make a mobile game, and after spending months or years in production, most developers need to start earning that money back fast. To ensure you hit the ground running, you must begin marketing your game well before you plan to release it. These are a few tools to consider when promoting your game.

Market Research

Understanding your target market is the core of any successful marketing campaign. Analyze the preferences and behaviors of your target customers and use what you learn to identify your game’s hooks and the marketing materials most likely to appeal to your audience.

App Store Optimization

Many users browse the app store when looking for new free games with in-app purchases. App store optimization helps your game rank better for relevant searches in the app store.

The better your rankings are, the more people will see and download your game. To improve your rankings, use relevant keywords in the description, title, and keywords field of your listing.

Create a description that gets players excited to try your game. Incorporate high-quality videos and screenshots into your listings. The better your images are, the more enticing your listing will be to potential players.

 Illustration of the various components of app store optimization

Landing Page

Even if you don’t intend to sell your game directly on your website, you need a landing page as a hub for the various marketing channels you use to promote your game. Use SEO techniques to improve your search rankings and attract more visitors.

Provide information about your game, answers to frequently asked questions, links to your social media accounts and app store pages, gameplay and promotional trailers, screenshots, reviews, news and updates, and a call to action. Consider adding a community forum where players can talk about your game to generate buzz.


Trailers are one of the best tools to show off your game’s visuals and gameplay elements. A great trailer can do a lot to get players excited about free games with in-app purchases.

However, make sure your trailer is representative of actual gameplay. Players won’t stick around if your game can’t deliver on the trailer’s promise, and bad word of mouth will chase off potential customers.

Use your trailer to tell your game’s story. Make it unique, memorable, and eye-catching.

Social Media

The downside of social media is that it is so crowded it can be hard to get noticed. However, if you can build a following, you can get a lot of free promotion by sharing your videos, photos, GIFs, and other content on your social media channels. Engage with potential players to cultivate brand loyalty.

Build relationships with other developers. Encourage your players to share their user-created content. Don’t try to make every post go viral, but focus on creating content that your followers will want to share with their followers.

Content Marketing

Every piece of content you generate is an opportunity to introduce a potential player to your game. The more content you create that has real value to readers, the more visits you will get to your website and social media accounts.

High-quality content can improve your search engine rankings and encourage backlinks from other sites. Regular content creation also gives visitors a reason to keep coming back to your site.

Illustration of different types of content marketing


It can be hard to build an audience on social media for new free games with in-app purchases, particularly for smaller developers. You can jump-start this process by working with social media influencers who already have a large audience to introduce your game to.

Choose influencers whose existing audience is a good match for your target market. Focus on influencers who have a presence on the platforms most likely used by your target audience.


Some players won’t try even a free game if it has poor or no reviews. Send download codes to review sites and blogs to encourage professional reviews and incentivize your players to submit reviews to the app stores.

Monitor reviews and respond to the feedback you get. Feature some of your best reviews on your website and social media pages.

Paid Advertising

It can take months to work your way to the top of search engine and app store rankings. Paid campaigns allow you to skip to the front of the line. In addition to purchasing ads on Google search, social media sites, and app stores, consider purchasing some in-game ads to run in games that are similar to yours.

Cross Promotion

If you already have some games with an audience, use in-game ads, messages, and email campaigns to promote your new games to existing customers. Use similar visual assets across your free games with in-app purchases to build your brand identity.

Game Publishers

A game publisher will take a percentage of the revenue you generate but can offer you opportunities, such as showcases, award entries, and cross-promotion, that you may not otherwise have. Consider the potential costs versus the potential benefits when deciding if a publisher is a good fit for you.

Where To Get Help Promoting Free Games With In-App Purchases

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do to market free games with in-app purchases, Sonamine can help. Outsourcing with Sonamine frees you up to focus on what you do best. Contact us today to get started.

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